Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has clarified he was not looking to attack Lionel Messi when discussing the PSG man's praise of him during the 2021 Ballon d'Or ceremony.
Messi took to the stage and admitted that Lewandowski should have won the award in 2020 when the event was cancelled, revealing that he wished France Football would give him a retrospective trophy to mark his achievement.
It was a nice sentiment from the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, who was up against Lewandowski for this year's prize too, and the Bayern man was asked about it during an interview with Kanale Sportowym.
"I would like it [Messi's statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words," Lewandowski said.
However, in a fresh statement released to kicker, Lewandowski stressed that the true meaning behind his words has been lost and he was actually trying to praise the Argentine and thank him for his praise.
"My statement, which I made in an interview with a Polish TV broadcaster, is currently being misinterpreted," he said. "I never wanted to say that Lionel Messi's words were not sincere or serious.
"On the contrary, I was very touched and delighted by Lionel Messi's speech at the event in Paris, in which he expressed that, in his opinion, I deserved the Ballon d'Or 2020. I just wanted to express my statement that I would of course be very happy if Messi's words would be heard.
"I respect and appreciate Lionel Messi beyond measure and once again congratulate him on winning the Ballon d'Or 2021."
Lewandowski has given himself a great chance of winning the prize in 2022, beginning the current campaign with 27 goals in 21 appearances, compared to Messi's return of four in 13 since moving to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.